One of the most comforting things about fall and winter is eating as much soup as possible. Czech garlic soup or česnečka is an easy and quick recipe that will perfectly satisfy any spontaneous soup cravings. Made with ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen, this humble soup will blow you away!
Update Disclosure: This post has been updated for one or more of the following reasons: easier reading, updated photos, clearer instructions, and just plain ol' improvements to the recipe (as noted).
I love Czech food because all dishes are indeed home-cooked comfort food, and there is diversity within the same dish. It carries the same spirit of many traditional home-cooking cultures, such as the one I came from. Every family and cook makes their version of česnečka, and no two will be identical despite similar ingredients.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
I first tried this Czech garlic soup or česnečka in the middle of a chilly winter in Prague and I ended up ordering it as an appetizer for every meal. Every garlic soup at each restaurant was slightly different! I knew I wanted to remake this recipe at home. Why? Well, it's..
- ... super comforting.
- mind-blowingly simple!
- cheeeeesssyyy (if you want it to be)!
This soup comes in many forms and it's up to you how traditional or personal you want to make it. Here are the most common ingredients you will need:
- Unsalted Butter
- Chicken Broth/Stock/Bouillon
- Dried Marjoram
Remember when I said to make it to your preference? Here are more ingredients I've seen in different types of Czech garlic soup:
- Egg (optional): It's a popular addition to this soup. Whisk the egg in a bowl before adding it to the boiling water. Then stir the water with a fork vigorously as you slowly pour in the egg. The movement will create egg ribbons.
- Cheese (optional): Some recipes recommend using an easy-melting cheese such as grated Swiss or Emmental. Another option I used is Camembert because it's milder in taste. But I found that mozzarella cheese works the best.
- Fresh Parsley (optional): Use it as a topping after spooning some Czech garlic soup into a bowl.
- Rye Bread Croutons (optional): The croutons are fantastic toppings to this soup. The toasted tangy taste of the fried bread adds another flavor profile to the soup.
- Chicken Broth/Stock/Bouillon: The other versions I've had typically uses a vegetable base. But feel free to use whatever you like!
- Vegetables: Garlic is a MUST (there is garlic in the name). But you can add different vegetables so long as they are diced small.
- Dried Marjoram: You can use either dried marjoram or fresh marjoram (use to taste). But dried oregano works well as a replacement for dried marjoram in a pinch.
- Croutons: You don't have to make croutons from scratch and you can use bagged croutons instead. Or you can just leave it out completely!
- Sauté Away: It's essential to sauté the potatoes, garlic, and onions in the rendered bacon fat and butter to develop flavors before adding the broth.
- If You Are Using Bouillon: Add about three to four cups of water. Check that your chicken bouillon melts completely and taste test to see if you need an additional bouillon.
- Must Grate Garlic: If you are a garlic lover or know someone who is, grate just a bit more garlic over the soup right before you serve it. You'll get a punchy garlic flavor that many people love!
Make Croutons Ahead of Time
- Cube rye bread slices.
- Heat butter or neutral oil in a pan, and then add the cubed bread.
- Leave the bread pieces to pan fry for about one minute.
- Toss them around the pan to evenly cook and continue cooking for one more minute.
- Repeat step 4 two more times or until they are crispy.
- Set them aside in a strainer to stay crispy while making the soup.
How to Make Czech Garlic Soup (Česnečka)
Here are the basic steps of what you'll do:
- Melt the butter and render bacon in same pot.
- Add the potatoes, onions, and garlic.
- Toss them around in the pot together with the butter and rendered bacon fat.
- Cook until the onions are soft and transparent and then add the seasonings.
- Simmer for twenty minutes then grate garlic into the pot.
How to Serve
Take a bowl and fill the bottom with as much shredded or chunky cheese as you want. I used chunky cheese in my photos, but I also love using shredded cheese for those irresistible cheese pulls!
Top the česnečka with chopped parsley and croutons then serve it while it's still hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Česnečka is pronounced as chess-netch-ka. It's a simple garlic soup made with chicken stock and herbs such as marjoram and cumin.
This soup takes only twenty minutes to make in a pot so you don't need to use a slow cooker!
Czech Garlic Soup (Česnečka) Recipe
The equipment and ingredients sections contain affiliate links to products I love to use as well as items that I personally believe make this recipe the best version of itself.
- 50 grams bacon sliced (~ 2 slices)
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4-6 cloves garlic, sliced
- ½ onion, diced small
- 1 medium potato, medium diced
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ⅙ teaspoon black pepper powder
- salt, to taste
- 1 liter chicken broth or 10 grams chicken bouillon with 1 liter of water
- 1-2 cloves garlic, grated
- 2 slices rye bread, made into croutons optional
- 1 egg, whisked optional
- melting cheese such as Swiss, Mozzarella, or Camembert optional
- chopped parsley for garnish optional
- Melt butter and pan fry bacon in the same pot on medium heat. About 3-4 minutes. Add onions, sliced garlic, and potatoes to the pot stirring gently to keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom.
- Once onions are soft and translucent, add marjoram, cumin, chicken broth, and black pepper. Stir then bring to a boil then lower heat to medium low or until you get a low simmer. Simmer for 15 mins.
- Grate one or two cloves of garlic into the pot. Stir it in, then cook for another 5 minutes. Taste test and add salt as needed.
- Optional: Use a fork to stir the pot while you slowly pour the whisked egg into the soup to create ribbons of eggs.
- Optional: Add some shredded melting cheese at the bottom of a bowl, then ladle soup on top. Garnish with chopped parsley and croutons.
- Serve while hot.
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